Rock Volleyball experiencing growing pains, falls to 3-7 on the season

Published by The Rocket, Author: Zach Bonnette - Rocket Contributor, Date: September 17, 2018
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The Slippery Rock University volleyball team opened PSAC play this weekend, squaring off against West Chester (12-0, 2-0 PSAC) and Millersville (7-4, 2-0 PSAC). Facing stout competition, The Rock had its fair share of struggles, losing in four sets to West Chester on Friday and in four sets to Millersville on Saturday as well. 

In their Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Opener on Friday night, the Green and White faced a tall task against the undefeated Golden Rams at West Chester. SRU struggled early, losing the first set by a score of 25-16. However, Slippery Rock refocused and put on a great performance in the second set, as The Rock cruised to a 25-13 win in the second set against the formidable Golden Rams. West Chester rebounded in the third set, reclaiming the lead with a 25-18 win. SRU started out slow in the fourth set and their rival took advantage, as West Chester would secure a 25-20 victory in the fourth set, ending the match in four sets, extending their winning streak to 11 in a row. 

Despite the loss, Slippery Rock had several players who put on great performances. Sophomore Stephanie Jacobsen recorded a team-high 19 kills, good for her career best. Senior Beth Stumpf also had a day, as she recorded 16 digs to go along with 10 kills, which was her fourth double-double of the season. Junior Zoe Rivet also had a career day, raking in 45 assists. Sophomore Jalyn Willard racked up a match-high 28 digs and served two aces. 

On Saturday, SRU turned its attention to another PSAC foe in Millersville, looking to snap a four-game losing streak. In the first set, the Marauders would open a 12-7 lead and continued to keep the pressure on, eventually pulling ahead 21-12. The Rock would fight back and cut Millersville’s lead down to 5, trailing 23-18. Millersville would halt The Rock’s hopes of a comeback in the first set by scoring the next two points, securing the first set. 

In the second set, the Green and White made it close early, trailing by just one point with a score of 10-9. Millersville would end up hunkering down and enjoyed an 8-2 stretch, extending their lead to 18-11 and making the one-point difference a distant memory. MU would hang on to the lead and secure the second set, 25-16. 

Looking to avoid a straight set loss, Slippery Rock stayed poised and calm in the third set after falling behind 6-2 early. The Rock would go on to score 13 of the next 18 points, claiming a 15-11 lead. The Green and White would never look back and controlled the rest of the set, ultimately claiming the third set by a score of 25-20. 

Slippery Rock would not find as much success in the fourth set as Millersville came out strong and built a commanding 12-4 lead right away. The fourth set was never any closer than it was at that point as The Rock would fall in the fourth and final set by a score of 25-14. The loss dropped SRU to an overall record of 3-7, 0-2 PSAC. 

Notable performances from the day once again included Beth Stumpf, as she led the team with 12 kills and recorded nine digs. Senior Shayla Ray tacked on eight kills and had a team-high four blocks. Sophomore Erinn Kahoe also tied Ray for the team lead in blocks with four, increasing her total to 34, the highest on the team. 

After playing the first 10 matches away from home and losing five straight games, Rock volleyball is looking to change the direction of their season as they finally return to Slippery Rock to make their home debut against Kutztown University (6-5, 0-2 PSAC) on Friday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m.

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